Parties, events, outings – whatever the occasion, it's good for networking. You'll never find more people getting together than at the holidays, so take advantage of the opportunity to connect with people of interest or influence. Ways to attract attention:
Volunteer: During the holiday season, there are lots of opportunities to help out. Find a local organization that needs people to organize, deliver, set up or work events. Your favorite charity or cause, hospitals, senior centers – just look on line or in your newspaper's calendar section for upcoming events and who needs help. It's easier to talk to people who are like-minded and people are usually in a receptive mood while volunteering because they are doing good for someone.
Show interest in others: A great networking skill to have or to develop. It can really make a difference in the results you get. People are flattered when you listen to what interests them and ask questions that get them to talk about themselves, their work, even their hobbies. It's a great ice-breaker too. If something they mention is of particular interest to you, ask if you can get together with them at a future time to discuss it. (You do not want to monopolize their time.)
Maximize your efforts: Spend some time with multiple attendees at a party or event with the idea of walking away with a couple of referrals, informational meetings or suggestions for your job search. Focusing on one person can be less than productive and trying to speak with too many people may not give you time to extract the best information. If you are going to an event with someone and you are both job seekers, split up for a while and each "work the room" separately. Agree to meet up at a later time. It's easier to engage one person at a time.
Follow up: Now that you have made a connection, keep it going by reaching out to that person again. Make the call, send the e-mail or write them a note. If you promised to do something, do it. If you have information for them, make sure you send it along. Invite someone you met to coffee or involve them in another event you are going to. Keep the momentum going.
So, spruce up your outfit and your elevator pitch and get ready to let people know "what's new with you.Always present your situation postiviely no matter how long you have been in a job search.